The Roots Are Discovered


I've spent most of my life looking towards the future or living in the past, wondering what might have been or designing the next big thing.

Only to find once I'm there, at that point in the future, I'm already daydreaming how I want to feel the next trip.

Or replaying moments in my past to where they have lost all meaning like an overplayed radio song.

A huge piece of self-discovery around drinking is learning the underlying reason why you drink. The reason you started, and the reason you keep drinking

This is beyond the acute triggers that lead you to drink, or to that thought right before you take a drink, or even the positive intent behind drinking.

It's the deep-seeded, root-cause, your life depends on it, reason you drink.

I'm still working this through as my reason is still revealing itself like a hungry seductress .

I think one of the main reasons I kept drinking was I wanted to speed up time---get past all the day-to-day grind and to be free to be.

More often than not I would will myself "to just get through" a seemingly fun event, a weekend away, or a night out with friends begging for the day to end.

I'd be eager for the day to speed by like "time lapse" photography.

When I'd feel so uncomfortable in my own skin, it would feel like a hundred baby moths in my belly--the ones that populate the flour jars.

This may sound like anxiety, depression or chronic stress, but I wasn't nor ever have had any of these in a clinical sense.

I am not a Type A personality. I can make a mess and leave it for later. I'm not shy.

It felt like a vase that broke into a million shards, and no matter how many times you swept the floor every time you walk barefoot a piece finds its way into your skin.

Or a once prized and coveted antique clock that was forgotten in the over-stuffed and musty garage. The gold face dulled by years of dust

The feeling was so frequent, it was familiar and easy for me to suppress.

I know when it started. It was your typical coming of age story where girl-meets-boy then boy breaks girl's heart.

Alcohol helped with that. It warped time for me so I no longer had to squeeze me eye shut, click my Doc Martin's, and wish time away. I quit drinking over 2 years ago. Now life is more like stop motion photography. I almost always love being right there in the moment, freezing it, and feeling it.

And then there are days when I don't. And I want to daydream, and be alone.

It's in the moments of uncomfortableness when it takes days or weeks for the moths to settle, and I get impatient this feeling will never end that the roots are discovered.

"Just One"

I went out with some moms that I have gotten to know over the year. We made this date two months in advance to celebrate the end of another school year.  We all wore the outfit we loved, but for one reason or another felt uncomfortable wearing out in public. For me it was that pair of black Madewell overalls that fit snugly over my hips, thighs and booty.

As per custom at most restaurants, one small church-pamphlet sized menu with black font was presented for the four of us to share. The conversation commenced about the different drink options and how the combination of flavors would taste. One friend ordered Pinot Grigio, another Rose, the third a sake juice box (yes, that’s sake in a juice box with a straw!), and then it came around to me. I had already happily ordered sparkling water and poured it into my highball glass on the table, but instead of passing, I ordered a glass of unfiltered sake off the happy hour menu.

I sipped on the 1.5 ounces of sweet liquid for over 3 hours. When the third round of drinks were ordered for the other women at the table, there was a comment made when the attention came to my tiny ceramic sake cup that had an imperceivable amount missing. I held the child sized glass in my hand, giggling about how I quit drinking 99.9% of the time 2 years ago. One mom said, “and she works out at 5 am, too.” Mostly they mumbled about how in comparison they felt they had a “drinking problem” or “a high tolerance” or “its a night out with the girls”.

The past several days I have been in a super funk. I can’t put my finger on it, because it’s bigger than that. It’s more like a heavy wool blanket or a ominous storm cloud. I postponed the inevitable dissection of why I ordered a drink at dinner. It’s not like this was the first time I’ve taken a few sips of booze since I quit nearly 2 years ago.  Why was this different?

Was I doing it to try to fit in, to appear “normal”, to avoid the “discussion” all together, to make others comfortable, to push the boundaries of what it means to have a choice around drinking, or because I really just wanted the taste of sake again?

It was probably a little of all of them, but now as I’m carefully picking apart the event, delicately analyzing behaviors, what I am most saddened about was a missed opportunity for me to show up exactly as who I am.

I am that woman who doesn’t drink because I drank too much for too long.  I am the woman who joked about her high tolerance, and would sing about how much I loved wine.  I am the woman that once I removed alcohol from my life, I managed to do extraordinary things, with extraordinary women who also want to disrupt the way our culture idealizes happy hour.

I missed the opportunity to tell my story. Not because I was trying to change or shame the woman present, but because I chose to attend dinner with these fabulous women. To show up and to be present for them. To be vulnerable. To make mistakes, and say something inappropriate or awkward. To share an experience.

My “just one” wasn’t about the Sake at all.  It was “just one” more moment I could have been who I am.

For all of you who have had a “just one” moment. What did that “just one” really mean?

Somebody's Opinion Matters More..

Somebody's Opinion of you Matters More Than your opinion of yourself.png

“Somebody’s opinion of you matters more than your opinion of yourself.”-Gary Vaynerchuk

In hindsight, this is what kept me drinking past the expiration date of being palatable by me, or anyone else in my presence.  

I wanted a break from alcohol. I longed to go out with friends and not crave a beer. I knew in my soul that alcohol was not serving me anymore, but I just couldn’t figure out how to change this pattern.

What would people think if I didn’t drink at a work happy hour, or girls’ night out, or a school fundraiser gala? I would be the wallflower. Once again the awkward little girl in the corner with nothing interesting to say.

I was so afraid that if I quit drinking others would speculate I had a problem “controlling my booze.” Because of the opinion of others (fabricated or true) I led two lives. One where I would have a cocktail or two in a social situation to fit the role of a carefree, quick witted working professional, or easy-go-lucky mother of two, or the friend who was always ready for “deep talks” over a bottle of red. Would the “jig be up”? Would they finally figure out I was nowhere near perfect?

The other side of me would come home after a cocktail or two, and have another drink and another. I was trapped between two worlds of the seemingly causal social cocktail, what some may call “normal drinking”, and overindulging later in the evening. After the first two drinks a switch would go off in my brain that simultaneously charged my alter ego. Man, she was a surly powerhouse of a woman. She could debate politics all night, and have uninhibited sex later that evening. Isn’t this the woman my man desired? What would happen to our relationship if this was taken away?

I knew the opinion of others keeps me stuck and it’s part of my daily practice to fight the feeling I need to “keep up with the Jones”, but when I heard it put this way, that maybe even the opinion of others matters MORE than the opinion I have of myself, it sent a wave of confirmation bumps over my body, because that shit ain’t right!

If you are petrified with fear that you will fail, or that you will be misunderstood, or disliked, check in with yourself and make sure this isn’t the opinion of your aunt, sister, ex-boss, or of the random person you don’t even like anyway. If the image of another person comes into focus, immediately recognize this and change direction. The reality is, my friends, they aren’t even thinking of you anway, or if they are, it’s of your “opinion” of them.

Queen Bee


“I am going to start drinking again,” said a friend via text.

She quit drinking a year before I did. She was the reason I knew I could be courageous enough to eliminate alcohol for good, or at least give it the ole college try.

Her words didn’t trigger me. I didn’t read them and think, “oh no my role model, the woman I’ve put on a pedestal may drink again. What does this mean for me?”

Instead I texted back, “yah, I totally get it. The more kids I had, the more I drank” (true statement, and luckily for me I only had 2 kids).

I know she has the tools, support, and big belly full of 98% sobriety, but when you have a baby on your hip, all of the above becomes a little more elusive.

The tools and support we used before we had kids becomes translucent and sticky like Slime. It’s appears to be a solid mass in the package, but once we pick it up it slips through our fingers. It’s tangible and in sight, but teases us by hanging on to our fingers, clothes, whatever it’s tendrils can grasp on to, but impossible to actually have fun playing with.

The words in her text lead me to think about women who are mothers who overindulge in alcohol.

It can be achingly lonely being a mother to small children. This isn’t because our tribe of mothers or friends aren’t available, they are. It’s just we don’t think anyone can understand exactly what we are going through, and in a way this is so true, because there is no one exactly like our little baby.

But this isolation can lead to continuing or restarting old habits that instantly give our mind and our heart a break. This may be alcohol or food or an eating disorder-something we feel we can “control”--that is personally and secretively ours.

We can’t just hop on over to a yoga class, or run Town Lake trail. We can’t tuck our head under the covers at 7 pm only to emerge again the next day at 10 am. We can’t sneak into the back row of an AA or Smart Recovery meeting at noon.

Our lives as mothers with small children doesn’t give us the freedom to nurture ourselves in the exact moment we need it. If we are fortunate to have family nearby, an available partner, or a babysitter, we still have to plan our “breakdowns.”

It most definitely doesn’t give us permission to take time away from our babies to tend to what society sees as  “a problem” if we choose to distance ourselves from alcohol. But, hey, having morning mimosas is A-OK.

As I write this it’s a freakin’ miracle any mother can ever quit sippin’ on the “mommy juice.”

I just want you to know, you are not alone. If you find yourself falling down Alice’s Rabbit Hole, reach out to someone online, a friend, or a mothers’ group that matches what you know will truly nourish your brave heart.

Please know, you are the Queen Bee and need to take care of yourself in order to tend to your hive, and there is no shame in that.

You are fierce, incredible, and deserving of every moment in your life, especially the ones you can steal for yourself.

Can I offer you a drink?


What do you tell people about not drinking? Why is there fear and hesitation around telling people?

We may be fearful or hesitant to tell people that we quit drinking or are taking a break from drinking because of what they may think or extrapolate from our words.

One of my client's during our group Connection Hour had a story about telling her coworker she quit drinking. She said her co-worker responded by saying, “well, you make it seem like you had a problem or something”.

We may be afraid of what this does to our employment or potential advances or promotions.

What if we decide to drink again tomorrow? What will our friends think? Will we be letting anyone down?

What if we lose friends?

What if no one wants to hang out with us anymore?

The reason for worry or hesitation is dependent on the audience, and so is what you will say to people.

Remember-You don’t need to tell anyone anything.

This is your journey and you need to protect yourself.

The responses we receive when we tell people we aren't drinking right now can catch us off guard, and make us doubt our decision.

Prepare what you plan to say before entering a scenario where alcohol is involved, so you can quickly answer the question and move on.

If you plan on avoiding the conversation all together, and you’re at a dinner or party, order a mocktail at the bar and when the server comes back around you can ask for the same drink.

If you are at a party, bring a bottle of Kombucha or some other beverage in your bag, and pour it in the host’s glassware from the party. Or have a beer koozie around a can of sparkling water.

Have your exit strategy and B-line it out of there when you feel uncomfortable.

Here are some ideas of things you can say when out and about. These are all technically true statements!

  • I’m trying to lose weight

  • I’m on a 30 day cleanse

  • I’m saving money

  • I’m getting up early to... __________ (exercise, work, etc)

  • Alcohol is no longer serving me (my favorite!)

Bottom line is, just as friends and acquaintances do not know you story, you may not know their whole story either. You may think they have it all together or can “moderate” their drinking, but you don’t know if they grab a “6er” on the way home or have 2 glasses of wine before meeting up for dinner.

I find the people who are most curious are the ones like you and me!

One day you may even feel strong, sexy, and powerful by saying you are sober, because, well, you’re kinda the biggest bad ass around.

Remember! You never know who you will inspire!

Dear Sweet Mama Bear

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Oh, Mama Bear,

I totally see you and know how hard it is raising those beautiful souls with sweet spirits and boundless energy.

Especially you with small children under feet.

The little ones who need you every second of the day with bright eyed excitement, bottomless stomachs, and an endless supply of “mama” on the tongue. The little people who run around your legs while you make dinner or use your skirt as a hideout while at the grocery store. The little love bugs who request snuggles when they skin their knee, have a nightmare or need reassurance when they are feeling wobbly. The “mini me” who plays dress up, gets sassy and demands independence at seemingly the most inappropriate time.

I see you. The mama who has no space and time to think clearly, sleep deeply, or process the day.


The mama who once had divergent dreams and aspirations that seem unattainable now.

The woman with an equally magnetic desire to be alone, and to also be within arms reach of your children always.  

The superwoman who provides so fully for her children by day, and numbs her heart by night because she doesn’t feel the wholeness within, and feels guilty for wanting more.

Oh, sweet love, I have a special place for you, mama. The one that can’t imagine life without wine to divide the hustle of the day with the solitude of night.

The mama who longs to be the perfect humans these precious angels think we are.

Dear sweet Mama Bear, I have been where you are.

Then one day I whispered, “I choose me”. I set aside the wine, my constant companion, to sit in the solace of the night, the hours in which my babies slumber, and I wept into my pillow.

At first with sadness and loneliness.

Then I wept for the name calling, breakups, failures, heartaches, backaches, and loneliness my babies will someday endure.

Then my tears shed for the underserved, the disenfranchised, the homeless, loveless, and isolated.

Then the tears became more cleansing and pure. I wept with compassion and love for myself, my story, and others.

We are all so deeply and divinely connected. If we just reach out, open our eyes, and hearts we can feel the pulse of another.

Anyway mama beauties. I see you. I know you. I know your challenges. I know your struggles. I know your worth. I love you.



Why 100 Days Without Boozin' It?


Why 100 days? Well, for starters, it’s a nice round number :)

Let’s look at it like a leaf traveling down a stream that ultimately ends in the ocean.

The first 30 days the leaf is traveling down the stream. The water is moving, but there are many obstacles: rocks, roots, stagnant waters, or potential for drying up completely.

At this stage, you are mostly navigating the new sober waters. You are focused on avoiding stagnation, staying on course, and looking out for obstacles (triggers). It’s all new. It can feel fearful, lonely, adventurous, refreshing, confusing, or boring during this stage.

Once you flow into the river (30-60 days), you have some pretty strong sober momentum. You’re aware of the obstacles so they don’t affect you as much. Your life is taking on new shapes and dimensions. You still need boundaries and focus, but you’re more willing to try new things, and venture out of your comfort zone. At this stage you’re more confident about not drinking. You’ve found other activities to fill your time and you’ve discovered other coping mechanisms for evening cravings. You think less about drinking.

You pass through the estuary into the sea around day 60. You feel the expansiveness of the universe and yourself in this stage. You’re power is limitless. The further you get from day 1 the less you need the land (your 1st 30 days tools) and the more you can use your breath and mindset to keep you afloat and drifting in the right direction. This is where the real magic can happen.

Of course there are still storms, and they can be fierce, but you have discovered your inner strength, community, and deepened your spiritual path to pull you through.

Do you want to feel liberated from alcohol? Go for it! Go for 100 days without boozin’ it.  

Curious About What Life is Like Without Alcohol?

Listen to this intimate conversation with this bold, courageous, gem of a woman, Erica Benedicto, as we discuss:

**Why Erica chose to quit drinking and live a clean lifestyle

**What should be the #1 question asked at your next visit with your healthcare professional

**How to self-regulate and relax at night without alcohol, (Hint: you know you've just forgotten)

**Why healing the healers (aka healthcare providers) is so important

We believe Healthy Healers=Healthy World

Are you tired of waking up with a hangover?

Did you wake up last night and say, "I shouldn't have had that last glass of wine?"

Do you want to see what this life sans alcohol is all about?
Are you sober curious?

Are you just plan tired of thinking about drinking?

Watch this to gain inspiration!

What does more of the same get ya?


I read recently in this nifty little book called YouSquared “more of the same usually just gives you more of the same”.





When I think of breakthrough moments in my life it is all from doing things differently than I was before.


When I was trying to lose weight, I didn’t continue to let the treadmill drag me along where I had been meandering for 6 months. Instead I joined a group strength training class and took the walks outside.


When I wanted to cut out sodas, I didn’t obsessively think about all the sodas I couldn’t have. I started the habit of carrying around a reusable water bottle with me at all times.


When I wanted to change my diet, I didn’t obsess over every calorie, I added more of the good stuff (greens, good fats, ect..) so there wasn’t as much room for the bad stuff.


When I decided alcohol was no longer serving me, instead of white knuckling it through another crazy bedtime routine with my kids without wine to “relax” me, I threw them in the stroller and went for a walk or put them in front of the screen. They ate sandwiches for dinner “on-the-go”, popsicles in the bathtub or watched movies through “wine-30”.


I knew my triggers, and the biggest one was the switch from a busy day that crescendoed at 5 o’clock. That is when the three hours until bedtime countdown begins; busily rushing around making dinner, cleaning messes, packing lunches whilst two boys are running rogue around my legs shooting imaginary bow and arrows at each other. The elusive perfect family dinner of deep conversation and connection is replaced with the reality of my arms stretching and twisting like the green Gumby toy trying to keep kiddos in their chairs.


Wine was my reward, my backstage pass to finally soak in the day.


I had a strong sense that drinking my nightly reward was forming a pretty solid habit and was leaving me exhausted. I’d been partaking in alcohol for just about any emotion for years, and the idea of breaking it off with the only thing that consistently made me feel happy was terrifying. But I also knew it really wasn’t making me feel happy...not by a long shot.


I had done many cleanses throughout my life, as well as a couple of stints pregnant where I didn’t drink, but it always ended in “celebrating” with wine.


This time I tried different. I knew in my heart-of-hearts that more of the same would get me more of the same.  Instead of putting massive amounts of restrictions, and rules around my drinking like I had done many times before, I just quit instead. For many they may choke on their wine spritzer as they read this, because this sounds like a major rule and restriction. On the contrary, it was liberating, is liberating.


My initial goal was 100 days without alcohol. After 45 days I knew the liquid I once considered the nectar of the gods, was now more like an artificial sweetener.  The false joy, relaxation, and relief I thought it provided was just alcohol’s toxic abilities monkeying with the neural networks in my brain.


Alcohol is no longer the controller of my life, but you will never know who truly is in control until you take an extended break from alcohol.


You know more of the same thing you are doing right now, will give you more of the exact same thing it has been giving you.


Take the leap of faith.


Ninja Trick


Guys, I have to share my newest ninja trick. I’ve been working a lot on learning about emotions, mine specifically. Not surprisingly, this is also a recurrent theme with my group of fabulous Senoritas Soberistas in Think Beyond the Drink.


For over-imbibers, we love to dull the edges of our emotions in the name of relaxation. If we realize it or not, we numb the “not good enoughs” but also the “I’m totally a badass” high flying feels life can bring too. Alcohol chooses which emotion we postpone, erase, or heighten. Usually the “not so good enoughs” return with a vengeance after a night of numbing, and the high flying feelings have dissolved. When we have some time between our last drink and today, the emotions we’ve been postponing join us once again, but this time we have to pull up our big girl panties and face them.

I spent this last week in Mexico with my love at an ALL-INCLUSIVE resort: FREE TOP SHELF BOOZE, Y’ALL.I had a particularly vulnerable moment on the second to last afternoon. I asked my husband to order two Pina Coladas, one for me and one for him. I convinced myself this wouldn’t really be a cheat because we all know they barely put alcohol in those things. By divine intervention, or my husband’s small bladder, he had to run back to the room. By the time he returned 5 minutes later, I heard myself say, “but mine without alcohol”. He wasn’t surprised I had a change of heart and ordered me a Virgin Pina Colada.

For the next hour I was unsettled, annoyed, distracted. Along with free booze 24/7, they also had a sweets buffet and ice cream parlor opened from 7 am - 11 pm. I was eating 3-4 desserts after lunch and dinner, so I wasn’t depriving myself of scrumptiousness, and each fork full of decadence was providing me with joy.

In this moment, however, while fidgeting on my chaise recliner I practically started to run to the sweet bar. Again, thanks to my husband’s ability to be easily distracted, he needed to go back to the room.

It was just enough time for me to stop and check in with my emotions. What was i feeling? I was annoyed and felt guilty that i was in this heavenly place with the coolest guy around and I didn’t feel like a shiny star but grumpy, and uncomfortable in my own skin.

I tried all the tricks in the book: a yummy frozen non-alcoholic drink, a swim in the pool, reading inspiring and courageous literature written by women who have many more month of sobriety than I. None of it was working. I had eaten so much this trip I didn’t really want anything else near my mouth (1st World problems). I was at a complete lose and wanted to scream. So, I chose the next best option. This one is the best ninja trick around, and anyone can do it from anywhere. I chose to take a big fat nap. I slept for 20 glorious minutes. I was able to wake up and reset my intention for the next half of the day. Plus sleeping instead of eating dessert saved me about 1000 extra calories, but who's counting


Sleep is such a beautiful thing, y’all. It’s a private little respite from the overstimulating world around. Sleep gently and without effort sifts through our brain and tosses what is useless (self-doubt, disappointment, embarrassment) and keeps what is needed (strength, beauty, love, courage).  The frequency of our brain waves soothe as we shift down from the wakefulness of the alpha waves to deep healing sleep of the delta waves.

Just like learning a new language, I am still learning a new way of being. Sleep gives me the solace to integrate all I have learned throughout the day. As I enter my 11th month today without alcohol, the frequency, intensity, and number of triggers I once had are thankfully changing or fading. What is affectionately present is intimately learning who I am today, practicing compassion for myself and others, and evolving to the woman I want to be.

None of this would have been possible if I would not have taken the quantum leap of faith that all would be well. I am overcome with gratitude for all that I have learned and all I am becoming.



Take the leap of faith, y’all.

I don't want to quit FOREVER


I don’t want to quit drinking FOREVER!

Amen to that!

I don’t either.

All I know for sure is throughout the last 20 years, alcohol was the one thing that has been a constant in my life.

Over the past 6 years I knew something had to give. Like any proper lady, I ignored the recycling bin and would sign up for a spirit triathlon, register for a class, enroll in 60 classes in 60 days of hot yoga (only for the insane at heart) or schedule a 30 day cleanse. I would try to curb my drinking by doing another activity. I wasn't facing the fact alcohol was the thing that was causing discontent.  

A couple weeks into whatever hairbrained idea I came up with, I’d catch myself with a cold mug of beer in my hand at a summer BBQ, glass(es) of champagne at a friend’s birthday party, margarita(s) on vacation, glass(es) of wine after a bad/good/normal day at work.

It wasn’t until I took an extended break from the drink that I realized the hypnotizing nature of that sparkling liquid in the crystal flute glass. I was under the illusion it helped me relax, have more fun, be more social, connect more closely and authentically with others, communicate with my husband, and celebrate with my friends.

The veil was lifted. Alcohol was blurring my vision both figuratively and literally. It was causing anxiety and depression-both of which I had never experienced before. My skin was breaking out. My belly and face were bloated. I was exhausted 70% of the time.

The most heartbreaking side effect, though, was that I was losing my voice. My confidence was waning. I could no longer depend on the little Navigator in my head that told me the right path to forage.

I could only hear the Negotiator. The voice telling me I deserve a drink. I don’t have a problem. I’m not like those people. I have a career. I manage a house with busy boys. I haven’t hit rock bottom. I’m not an alcoholic. I don’t drink EVERY night.

The day I knew the gig was up is when I was on the most adventurous, picturesque vacation of a lifetime. In the middle of the Caribbean with my best friends, my husband skippering the boat. The islands were jutting out of the ocean on the port side (on the left) and the ever stretching reach of the Atlantic was starboard (on the right), and I was in the middle, hungover.

As my mom always said, “never is a long time”, so I can’t say I will never drink again.

Just. Not. Today.



Teenage Angst and a Cig

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This past weekend was the annual parent’s night out fundraiser at my kid’s school. This year’s theme was Glam or Grunge. I chose grunge, obviously. I’m a total product of the 90s. The only thing missing from this picture is teenage angst and a cigarette.

What IS here is the vast variety of emotions I remember having while in my late teen-early adult years. The excitement of the unknown while driving my white Mazda 626, windows down, Nine Inch Nails pulsing into the humid Texas night air. The dreamy and connected feeling while lounging side-by-side next to my crew in the dewy green grass of Zilker Park. The deep, visceral, achy love that one can only really experience inside the innocent relationship with your first love, or when thinking of your child navigating through this big complicated world.  

These feelings are nostalgic, yet fresh and new all at the same time.

Over the past couple of decades I would drink to celebrate, drink when I was bored, drink to be social, drink to relax, drink to have fun, drink on date night, drink when having dinner with friends, drink when having dinner with family, drink when watching a movie. In all these scenarios, it was/is socially acceptable to drink.

Drinking would bring me back to a baseline, some place familiar, some place where growth isn’t allowed, permitted or wanted

This place seemed safe but it isn’t. It’s numbing. It replaced my excitement, fear, love, authenticity with complacency.

I’m learning to be inquisitive and gentle when these wild emotions jump out of me. I curiously follow them, sometimes for days, until I discover they either no longer serve me, they don’t belong in this time and place in my life anymore, or I welcome them as a reminder of how far I have come.

Although for some the thought of having a single teenage emotion would scare them back into the bottle. Let me lovingly remind you: you are older, you are wiser. Do not be afraid. Your adult self is ready to take care of you. To help you explore and learn ways of developing new patterns. It may take time, but it will happen.

Until then, allow your mind to trail off and see what’s on the other side of the emotion.

Always with love.